July 18, 2024

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Commissioners vote to move forward with designs for new library in Nantahala

In 1941, Overlook Lassie Kelly, Macon County librarian, used state funds to obtain new textbooks and a bookmobile to go to rural regions of the county. The bookmobile was a 1936 Chevrolet truck transformed with shelves to maintain 280 guides. The truck was obtained for $186, shelving price just shy of $7, and other miscellaneous expenditures brought the full cost to $197.70. In 1941-1942 the bookmobile price $22.09 to function and traveled 910 miles close to the county, especially to attain locations these types of as the Nantahala Local community.

It was not until finally 1986 when a library department, staffed by volunteers, was started off in the Nantahala Group Developing to supply better library support to the inhabitants of the remote part of Macon County. The Nantahala Local community Library joined the Fontana Regional Library program, which was proven by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in 1944 to deliver library solutions for its staff on the Fontana Dam. 

By 1998 the Nantahala Group Library was planning to shift from the group middle to a new facility which was owned by Macon Software for Progress at the time. The facility was located on the Nantahala University house — the identical space the library has occupied at any time considering that. 

Now, practically 25 many years later, the Macon County Board of Commissioners are continuing to transfer forward with renovations to a developing that will transfer the library into a new community middle located on White Oak Lane in the Nantahala Community. 

The require for renovations for the 1,800-square-foot Nantahala Community Library have been a constant conversation around the last 10 years. Macon County supplies Fontana Regional Library with about $1 million a year in functioning expenses for all a few libraries in the county. In addition to the running funds, Macon County pays the utility payments on the facilities, as effectively as the upkeep on the buildings. In the previous, as the Nantahala Library has necessary repairs, money have been delivered for this sort of out of the county’s routine maintenance price range, in addition to the procedure pounds supplied to Fontana Regional Library.

The Macon County Board of Commissioners have grappled with troubles surrounding the Nantahala Library relationship back to 2018. The library, a double-broad trailer housed on the property of Nantahala University, has been running since 1999. In September 2018, Nantahala resident Ed Trask spoke to commissioners about a study done looking for enter from Nantahala residents on the foreseeable future of the Nantahala library spot. 

Macon County Commissioners solid a split vote to order the White Oak assets in 2021 on a motion manufactured by Macon County Commissioner Paul Higdon. The April 2021 vote to acquire the assets was break up simply because at the time of paying for the home, the library had not been consulted about relocating to the new assets. 

When questioned exactly where local community people would like to have a new library, the White Oak Flats place acquired the most responses. Nevertheless, nearly as numerous residents requested that the library continue to be at the existing spot, citing centralization, effortless accessibility, advantage, and basic safety. 

Fontana Regional Library Director Karen Wallace mentioned that when the library acquired the county obtained the new residence, they ended up shocked as it was not in the library’s prepare to relocate. 

“When the Library Board figured out that the County had designed an offer on the making on White Oak Lane, they ended up shocked,” explained Wallace. “They had not been earlier approached by the County about this as a doable spot for the library.  The Library Board then notified the County Commissioners of their preference to stay at the recent location (in close proximity to the Nantahala University).  Missy Evans, the Nantahala School Board member, contacted the Board of Commissioners to allow them know she views the community library’s adjacency to the school as a stability and basic safety threat. The Library Board then requested the School Board for a determination about the library’s continued existence on the campus (did they welcome the library or not)?  The College Board by no means gave the Library Board a reaction to that problem.”

The White Oak constructing is 2,400 sq. feet and the county voted throughout the July Board Assembly to carry on shifting ahead with developing renovations with the intent for the library to occupy fifty percent of the place with the other half remaining made use of as a community making. The shared place will give the Nantahala Community Library 1,200 square feet, a decrease in dimensions when compared to its present 1,800 sq. foot space. When lowering library expert services and choices to match the new house is not great for the library, Wallace stated the board acknowledges that the new White Oak building will be the ideal selection to get the desperately essential new services. 

“Although not our initially option (to start with selection staying to continue to be on the faculty campus), we felt that this was the most effective possibility for us to relocate the library in that neighborhood,” reported Wallace. “It’s not likely that the County Commissioner will agree to obtain yet another piece of property and fund a new library when they’ve already purchased this developing. It’s not likely that the College Board will concur that we’re welcome on the university residence (in a new making). But we can’t continue to be in the creating we’re in due to the fact it’s deteriorating.”

Macon County’s July vote moves ahead with architectural style and design solicitation to establish the making to residence equally the library and a group developing for residents of Nantahala.